Here's something that man, in thousands of years of farming and animal husbandry, has never noticed before - but thanks to Google Earth - now know: cows tend to face in the north-south direction of the Earth's magnetic lines!
Wind and time of day did not offer better explanations for why 8,510 cattle in 308 locations around the world would mostly face north-south. Shadows suggested that many of the images were taken on cloudless, sunny days, so Begall's group also factored in direct ground observations of cattle herds.
A strong wind or sunlight on a cold day have typically proved more the "exceptions to the rule" that might cause large animals to face away from magnetic north-south. [...]
Both cattle and deer faced a more magnetic north-south direction rather than geographic north-south, (Earth's magnetic poles do not line up perfectly with the North and South Poles).
(Photo: Hynek Burda)